CHAPTER I retribution reference

CHAPTER I retribution reference - CHAPTER I. RETRIBUTION,...

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CHAPTER I. RETRIBUTION, TEMPORAL AND ETERNAL No idea is more universal among men than retribution. The laws of the material world exert a retributive power, rewarding those who regard and obey them and punishing those who disobey. So also the laws of all social organizations involve retribution. It is found in the family, in the school, in the social circle, in business, and in the state. Retribution, also, has been believed to exist in the various systems of supernatural powers which men in various ages and climes have accepted as true. Under these systems some things are required and some things forbidden, and rewards and punishments are expected in accordance with obedience or disobedience. If the idea of retribution is carried into a future life, and to this the idea of eternity is added, it becomes a motive of supreme, all-controlling power, for what is this short life compared with eternity? Moreover, if the power of assigning the retributions of eternal joy or woe is believed to reside in a certain order of men, then this belief invests them with terrific sway. Such was the fearful influence once wielded by papal excommunications and interdicts. The power of priesthoods and governments has for ages rested on such convictions. The most terrible despotisms under which men have ever groaned have had this basis. It is, therefore, a matter of great moment to understand the real system of the universe under which we live, and the real retributions which we are to expect. For this true knowledge we are dependent on the Word of God. Nor do we rely upon it in vain. Nothing is more full than divine revelation on this subject. And yet there is far from being unanimity of views among those who follow this standard. And though the subject has been often discussed, yet it is thought by some learned and pious divines that the full energy of investigation in the Church has never yet been put forth on this subject, and that a more profound discussion is needed and is at hand
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A Profound Discussion Inevitable. Prof. Schaff, of Union Theological Seminary, eminent alike for learning and piety, seems to think thus. In his "History of the Apostolic Church" he speaks as follows: "Each period of Church history is called to unfold and place in a clear light a particular aspect of doctrine to counteract a corresponding error; till the whole circle of Christian truth shall have been traversed in its natural order." He illustrates this as to the Trinity, the person of Christ, the depravity of man, and the system of redemption. He then adds: "In our times the doctrine concerning the Church seems to be more and more challenging the attention of theologians. And finally, Eschatology, or the Doctrine of the Last Things, will have its turn." There is a profound reason why the radical discussion of future retribution should come last, for that retribution is the final issue of the whole system, and, to explain and justify it, all false conceptions of God must have been exposed and his true character revealed, the highest forms of the principles of honor,
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CHAPTER I retribution reference - CHAPTER I. RETRIBUTION,...

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